Friday, January 26, 2007

Snorkel masks, lamps, bully's (again) and biting back

Traveller one over at Stepping Stones has a new post up about those 'aha' moments you get when you are living somewhere else and a mystery is solved, then at the end she talks about flashlights. This has inspired me to tell you about one of the queerer aspects of living on the boat.

Our boat is very small, and very low tech. When someone askes us what type of YACHT we live on, I always explain it like this.

"You know those really fancy bus style RVs you see sometimes?"


"Then there are those pretty cool ones with the people sitting in them, and they have doors and walls that pop out, and they look nicer than your cottage?"


"We live in a VW bus."


Yup, it's small and adorable, and I cannot stand up straight down below. Hey, you want to stand UP!?! Go on deck.

Anyway, in the interest of simplicity, laziness and lack of cash, we have no electrical system. It is a huge amount of work and effort to maintain an electrical system on a boat that flexes bounced and crashes around in salt water...we had no desire to maintain it, we'd rather be sailing and playing with the kids. This means that the only electronics that we have aboard are battery operated. Hand held GPS, VHF radio, Shortwave radio for weather. That's pretty much it. We have an oil lamp hung up outside for lighting up the boat at night, as an anchor light - legally required, and you'd be stupid not to use it anyway...hard to sleep when someone crashes into your boat and sinks it. We also have a beautiful lamp to light up our lives below. Looking at that picture is making me homesick. I love that lamp and the warm homey light it provides. *sigh*

For reading and nighttime work though we had headlamps. These are amazing. With the new LED technology, they weigh about and ounce, and stay on your head like a sweat band. They are bright enough to light up a football stadium, and the batteries last forever. There are two drawbacks however, you look like a convention of nerdy miners, and you have to learn not to look directly at people when you talk to them...It is hard to hear the pearls of wisdom falling from an other's mouth when your eyes are squeezed shut, and you are stunned like a rabbit in the headlights.

Here however is where I start to look immensely nerdy though. Sometimes while cooking I had to wear the headlight to see down into the pots, no problem. We cooked on an alcohol stove, which gives off as a by-product of combustion, a gas that is one of the components in teargas. This is not normally a problem again, the stove is sitting under a hatch (window) and at anchor, the wind usually streams through from the front of the boat back past the stove and on out. Sometimes however, if we are in a strong tide, the water rushing past is enough to swing the boat around so that she is butt into the wind. This blows out that stove so that we have to put the boards into the main hatch (close the door) Well, all of a sudden those gasses are swirling around my face, combined with the onions I almost always use.

Times have come when I have found myself with a snorkel mask on and a I look like SUCH a cooking on the boat. Fully armoured.

As far as my current life goes, my job interview at the language school went reasonably well, possibly because I wasn't wearing a snorkel mask and LED headlight with a carving knife in my hand. The woman I spoke with seemed positive and showed me around, but she was not the woman that normally does the hiring, she could just speak English, we'll see what happens.

At school today my elder daughter got targeted by the same grade six guy, following her around asking her the same questions over and over again...her buddies gathered around, but before they got a chance to do anything, she apparently shoved her face in his, within centimeters and screamed at him...BUZZ OFF YOU FAT OAF!

She told me this as we were walking through the main placa of the town, and she was worried I wouldn't approve. I staggered around giggling helplessly at the image, and the man's comment at dinner was along the lines of, "well done." The boy apparently retreated in some confusion.

The little one said he was doing the same to her, following her around asking the same question over and over...(sheesh, the kids in grade two, you would think a giant grade 6er would be embarrassed) The little one showed us the look she gave him, I think it could best be described as regal disgust...then she walked away from him, leaving him staring at her retreating back.

So far, score two for the foreign kids. They seem to be holding their own.

Their parents are so placid and timid, I've know idea where this came from.


Beth said...

I have to hand it to you...I just could not do it! No electricity? sorry, I'm outa there. You got balls girl!!! Big ones! And so do your girls! good for them, handling that bully like that....wish I could have seen that! I bet they are pretty proud of themselves, huh? They should be.

You're doing a great job btw....

traveller one said...

Thanks for the link to me and thanks for the tip about the LED headlamps!

Hope that bully soon stops targeting the girls-- grrrrrrrr.

Mom of Three said...

Perhaps there is something in their upbringing that has not squashed their spirits. By your youngest's age, I was ready to let anyone beat me up and just take it. They speak very well for you with their fierceness!

oreneta said...

Beth: It was no hardship honestly...I loved it. The kids were pretty pleased.

Traveller One: You may or may not want to walk through town with a headlamp on, although the hands free aspect is pretty great, I have one to read in bed too. They do use LED's for bike headlights as well, and the batteries really last forever.

MoT: Thank you very much. I hope they retain that strength as their lives go on.

Nomad said...

Yeah for sure your kids are cool...
I am curious to know what the boys question is? Maybe someone should ask him...

I hope it pans out for you at the language school.

Great image re the headlamp...I can see it!!!...we used to wear them training ski skating at night at Hardwood about feeling like you are REALLY going fast...

Truly all the boat stuff sounds just dreamy...

Ever thought about writing about it?

oreneta said...

Nomad: He was asking, "What's your name?" Over and over. Pretty minor aside from the persistent repetition.

Yes, I am writting about it, slowly.